Martina Norwegian honored
Simpson woman nominated for Wise Woman Award

by Arthur Milnes
Northern News Services

FORT SIMPSON (Apr 10/98) - There's an anonymous nominator out there and to them there is only one message: you chose well.

Fort Simpson's Martina Norwegian found out recently that she'd been nominated by someone in the community to receive a 1998 Status of Women Council of the NWT Wise Women Award. And, while she didn't win, anyone in the Deh Cho could tell you that she should have.

"This year, 33 women were nominated for these awards, and you were one of the nominees for the North Slave/South Slave region," Status of Women Council of the NWT president Rita Arey said in a letter to Norwegian.

"This nomination shows that your community values your contributions to their well-being... People have told us that you sit on many boards that serve the community, that you help those in need, are that you are a wonderful role model because you are dedicated, hard-working, sober, drug-free, speak your mind and make sure that things are done honestly and fairly, and always were a smile."

Arey's letter also goes on to quote a passage from Norwegian's nomination.

"We don't know how she does it but she balances work, meetings and her family all at once, always ensuring that everyone is kept happy and that she does good for the community," it said.

As for Norwegian, the finance administrative assistant with the Liidlii Kue First Nation's construction association, whose volunteer works includes the local library board and historical society; tireless efforts within her church; promoting literacy and serving as a board member with the Nat's Enelu Society; she says she was surprised when she opened Arey's letter.

"I was stunned," she said on Monday. "I opened the envelope and it said congratulations."

A lifelong area resident -- she is the daughter of the legendary respected elder Leo Norwegian -- Norwegian says she'll never stop working to better her community.

"I want to help," she said. "I want to see a change for a healthier community.. I don't do it (volunteer work) to be noticed, I do it because I care."

Anyone who has met Norwegian would quickly agree.

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